Alex Southern

Dr Alex Southern BA (Hons), MA, PGCE (FE), PhD, FHEA

Research Associate


My role focuses on educational research across a range of fields, including arts and creativity in education, professional learning for teachers as researchers, and education policy.

I originally trained as a film archivist, and worked in the Commercial Access Department of the Imperial War Museum Film Archive, before retraining as a Lecturer in Further and Higher Education and taking up post as Head of Learning at the Yorkshire Film Archive. Since completing my PhD in Education, I have worked with the Welsh Centre for International Affairs, University of Nottingham, National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, Ffotogallery and Film Hub Wales on film education, and school and community engagement research projects.

Member of British Educational Research Association (BERA)

  • PhD supervision: Education, teacher education and professional learning, Film
  • Programme Lead on MRes in Creative Learning
  • Teach on the EdD
  • Serve on the Athrofa Ethics Committee

Principle Investigator on the following research projects:

  • CAMAU Pupil Experience Research: How do teachers respond to data generated through enquiry centred on pupils’ experience of learning and progression?
  • How are the benefits of Creative Learning through the Arts (Welsh Government, 2015) articulated through a case study Regional Arts and Education Network?
  • Exploring teacher and pupil experience of an author/illustrator- led Continuing Professional Development and Learning (CPDL) programme that aimed to develop teacher knowledge, confidence and skills in delivering creative writing and illustration activities; and the organisation’s Festival of artist-led activities for school pupils.
  • The impact of research on practice and professional identity for Graduate Teacher Programme trainees and their mentors.
  • Self-Efficacy, Professional Identity and Attainment: A Comparative Analysis of Postgraduate Routes into Teaching

Co-researcher, in partnership with Cardiff, Swansea and Cardiff Metropolitan Universities on the following:

  • Exploring care for children with autism in Wales: An interdisciplinary pilot study

Film Education Expert (2017 and 2018-19) for the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), European Commission.

  • Film Education Consultant, National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales (2015-2018)
  • Advisory Committee of HLF and Arts Council Wales-funded community engagement project, ‘Hidden Presence’ for Chepstow Museum and Ffotogallery (2013-2015)
  • Archiving Tomorrow conference 2013: Served on the steering group for the conference, which discussed the opportunities and challenges faced by the production and archive sectors in response to the development of digital technologies.

Southern A (2019) The power of creative learning through the arts: Economic imperative or social good? Power and Education, 11:2, 175-190

Hurt L, Langley K, North K, Southern A, Copeland L, Gillard J and Williams S (2019) Understanding and improving the care pathway for children with autism. International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 32:1, 208-223

Southern A (2018) Disrupting the Habitus? Media representations and participant experience of Teach First: an exploratory case study in Wales. Teachers and Teaching, 24: 5, 584-597.

Southern, A. (2017) An Education Experiment. Viewfinder. June 2017, Issue 107, 16-17.  Also available at

Southern, A. (2017) Zum Beispiel Grossbritannien [Film Education in the UK: A History]. In bildungspolitik. November 2017

Southern A (2016) The Ministry of Education Film Experiment: From Post-War Visual Education to 21st Century Literacy. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Selected Conference Papers:

Southern A and Elliott J (2019) Third space creative pedagogies: Developing a model of shared CPDL for teachers and artists to support reading and writing in the primary curricula in England and Wales. British Educational Research Associaiton (BERA), Manchester University 10-12 September 2019.

Southern A (2018) ‘Better than a Boring Lesson by a Teacher’ The Ministry of Education’s film experiment, and the ‘value’ of film (in) education. Keynote address, Learning on Screen, Birkbeck University of London 23-24 November 2018.

Southern A (2015) 'Who do they think they are?' Exploring the significance of Teach First teachers' professional identities. A case study in Wales. British Educational Research Association (BERA), Queen's University Belfast 15-17 September 2015.

2nd prize: Early Career Researcher Presentation Award.

Southern, A. (2014) Class Division and the Ministry of Education’s Post-War Film Production Experiment. Children and Nontheatrical Media: From Film to Video University of Glasgow 11-13 April 2014.